As I mentioned earlier, this all started when I got an email from Cindy Needham. Cindy had visited my guild, The Village Quilters, last May. She gave a very interesting talk about thread and showed us her lovely antique linen quilts. You can see samples on her website, which also has some wonderful handouts and is really inspirational. I also attended her Open Thread Bar, learned a lot about using different types of thread in my machine, how to adjust the tension, etc. and for only the third time in my life got brave enough to drop my feed dogs and try Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). I felt totally out of control, but Cindy is a very patient and kind soul and a wonderful teacher. She helped me find a rhythm and by the end of the day I was doing some (kind of sloppy but wonderfully fun) thread painting on some pre-printed panels. I knew I wanted to learn more, so I began reading about FMQ and getting ready to try it on a real quilt.
I started by drawing a meandering pattern on paper with a pencil. Maybe it sounds silly, but I filled several notebooks with meandering patterns. I was trying to get the shapes and the flow into my brain. I figured if I couldn't draw the lines on paper, how would I ever be able to sew them? Even when drawing, I would panic when I drew myself into a corner, or couldn't figure out where to go next. I'm kind of a slow learner in that respect. So I practiced. By the end of the year, I had made two quilts using meandering FMQ; they weren't the best, but they were mine. And when they were done, my friends seemed to like them. They didn't notice (or at least they didn't mention) the starts and stops or places where I had crossed my lines ( a no-no according to what I had read) so I started to feel better about FMQ, but realized I needed a lot more practice.
|One of the quilts with the meandering FMQ.|
That was when I got Cindy Needham's newsletter that mentioned a FMQ challenge...